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looking at politics from a different perspective

Archive for December 2009

The Christmas that almost wasn’t

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So, a Nigerian Muslim tried to blow up a Delta jet as it landed in Detroit.  The operative word here is “tried”; whatever he was trying to do failed.  Kudos to the Dutch passenger who risked his life to stop him and, by all accounts, everyone on board did well under the circumstances.  I mean, it would be tough to figure out exactly what to do if the guy three seats over suddenly had his pants catch fire.  Some of the folks reportedly did what I think my first response would be – get some water and put him out!

The selection of  Christmas Day for a terrorist attack is no accident, and the symbolism makes me think there’s more to this than just one guy.  I’ve heard he claims it was an al Qaida request, but I kind of wonder whether it really was.  They may be terrorists, but they’re fairly effective at it.  It seems to me that, if they planned for a bomb to go off, it would have gone off.  Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit.  In any event, I doubt he was working on his own.

The most troubling part of this, in my opinion, is that he was even able to get something potentially dangerous on board.  The guy’s on a “no-fly” list but still was waved through by the security forces of three nations – Nigeria, the Netherlands and the United States – and you’d think at least one of them would have picked up on it.  That they didn’t confirms what many have suspected – that things aren’t as secure as we’d like to think, or as our government would have us believe.

It would be easy to point fingers at the Obama Administration, but let’s be fair here.  All he has to do with this is having set the policy that will result in the terrorist being tried in a civilian court.  The real culprit is time; with no new attacks in over eight years, our security forces have gotten bored.  Bored people don’t pay close enough attention, and someone gets through with a bomb up their leg.

The result of this is probably going to be something silly and useless, like strip-searching random passengers.  Those charged with airline security will fell they have to do something to show they;re on top of this, and the best bureaucrats can typically come up with is to prevent what’s happened already, even though the terrorists know they can’t use that particular trick again.  What they really need to do is figure out a way to better flag “no-fly” folks and keep them out of airplanes.  Maybe that means rotating TSA folks through various tasks so they keep alert, or get better-quality people.  What the Dutch and Nigerians do is thier own business; if we’re responsible for anything it’s flights landing on US soil.

However, and I hate to sound fatalistic here, there is no effective defense against a determined terrorist.  There will in all probability be another successful attack on our soil, someplace, some time.  But, at the same time, there’s a way to keep damage to a minimum, and it was demonstrated by a Dutch passenger on the Delta flight from Nigeria by way of Amsterdam, and an unknown number of people over Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001.

Keep your eyes open and pay attention to what’s going on around you.  Ultimately, you are the person best qualified and most able to provide for your own security.


Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

28 December 2009 at 9:14 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with ,

The problem with the GOP

with 5 comments

Sure, you’re upset with the Republican Party.  It’s elected officials have let you down time after time, and the party leadership doesn’t publicly denounce the headlong rush to socialism.  You may be angered that it doesn’t pursue social issues strongly enough, or believe that it’s been taken over by the religious right and promotes them too much.

I can’t really argue with you about that; the Republican Party is weaker and less outspoken than it should be, and there are a number of reasons for that.  However, there is one key individual at the core of both the problem and its solution.  That would be you.

During the 1968 Democrat Convention, the world watched on as waves of angry :”yippies” broke on the shoals of a massive police presence.  They shouted and jeered, they chanted and sang, they fought and were arrested.  But, at the end of the day, they accomplished little.

The reality is you can’t change an organization from the outside.  Oh, sure; you can influence it and public opinion, but a real change in direction and focus can only be accomplished from the inside.  So what did those “yippies” do?  They cleaned themselves up, got an education and became Democrats.

They started by simply registering as Democrats.  Then they became part of the Party organization at the county level.  In Oregon, we call those Precinct Committeepeople (PCP) but they’re found in every state, albeit by a number of different titles.  They were appointed to city and county boards and commissions;  they ran for and won leadership positions in the Party; they ran for and won positions at the city, county and state levels.

Meanwhile, after the flush of Ronald Reagan, what did Republicans do?  Why, when someone in the GOP did or said something you weren’t happy with, you left.   You changed your voter registration to “not-affiliated” or one of the glittering array of third parties.  You came to consider Republicans , for all intents and purposes, interchangeable with Democrats and, in some respects, you’re right.  But with all of you who should be keeping the GOP true to its principles abandoning it, who did you think would do it?

You can’t change anything from the outside. You have to be part of something to change it into what you want it to be!

With the socialists’ arrogant revelation of an America under their control in recent months, we have an unusual opportunity to reverse the trend and recover some of our lost liberties.  The fact is no third party is in a position to seriously challenge the ruling Democrats; only the Republican Party has the depth and support network to pull it off in 2010 and 2012.  So here’s what I challenge you to do.  Take a lesson from the 1968 “yippies” and take over the Republican Party from the inside.

Now, don’t assume everyone currently in the Republican Party is an enemy to be defeated.  There are quite a few of us still in the party, even in leadership positions, who agree with you and have been fighting for liberty from within while you were away.  In fact, you may find folks who’ll assist you in your takeover efforts.  Some county organizations are more conservative than others and some are going to be concerned by (or even opposed to) a pack of motivated and energized enemies of the left rocking the boat.  Don’t worry about the critics and the fearful; just find  your allies – even if you don’t agree on every issue – and work with them where and when you can.

But, first, change your voter registration.  That’s not too big a challenge, is it?  Only from the inside can you make changes.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

26 December 2009 at 10:53 am

Just so you’ll know…

with 2 comments

…this blog is an outgrowth of my firm conviction that the counsel most Republican candidates get is flawed.  Let me take that a step further; it’s fatally flawed and is the key reason we lose more races than we win and . Many have come to believe we can’t take strong positions for fear of alienating the “center”.  I say that’s hogwash – or worse!

The result of not taking firm positions or standing on principals has given us crop after crop of lackluster candidates and, more importantly, unreliable legislators.  I’m here to tell you that people will always follow a leader, even if they don’t agree with everything he says or everywhere she wants the city, state or country to go.  For an example, we have to look no further than Barack Hussein Obama, who rode into office on a chant of “change” and “hope”, pointing in a certain direction and telling the country “we want to go there!”  And who did we choose as our banner-bearer – someone who wouldn’t take a firm position on anything (although he had them) and, by comparison, making Bob Dole look like he had a personality.

It doesn’t matter that where we would end up was never clear or that most Americans now realize it was in the wrong direction, he inspired people.  And that, my friend, is the reality Republicans have got to recognize and incorporate.  Engaging, inspiring and motivating people requires giving them something to desire.

It’s been noted that men’s minds are not inflamed by small ideas.  If Republicans want people to follow them, they have to be willing to lead.  Being afraid to take a position out of a sense of fear is not leadership.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

25 December 2009 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Basics

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